A recent article in the Huffington Post asks, “Can Nature Save Us From Climate Change?” The article asserts, “Investing in natural resources can protect us and fight climate change.” This claim is supported by two recent reports from California showing the general public’s increased awareness of climate change as well as a higher demand for environmental action. By investing in the well-being of forests and wildlife, we can begin the regulatory behavioral changes necessary for nature to start healing itself. For example, the carbon rich Redwood and Sierra Nevada forests demonstrate the natural healing process of nature: “These magnificent trees remove carbon from the air and put it back in the land by storing it in trees and other plants, reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires.”
GreenBiz.com reports that Tom’s of Maine is considering the use of potatoes for biodegradable packaging. Rather than tossing out non-GMO potatoes, manufacturer Tom’s is toying with the idea of using them as a feedstock for biodegradable packaging. While most research in the alternative/sustainable packaging field has gravitated towards the use of corn, the unique elements of potato starch are promising. The Sustainable Bioplastics Council of Maine is collaborating with the University of Maine in an initiative to reuse local agricultural waste. As the article reports, “Potatoes are the biggest commodity in the state’s $1.2 billion annual agricultural industry. Tom’s of Maine proposes using potatoes that normally would be destined for landfills.” This type of ingenuity and commitment to sustainable manufacturing is something that sets Tom’s apart from competition.
“Bank of America launches ‘battle of the bankers’ to drive green office savings” according to a recent post on GreenBiz.com. Bank of America has started a new competition in the United Kingdom to encourage store branches to reduce consumption of paper and promote recycling. According to the article, “The competition will see 13 of the company’s divisions ranked based on the extent to which they reduce their printing, and whether or not monitors are switched off overnight. In order to drive improvement, performance will be made public every week.” As further incentive to have an environmentally conscious workplace, the winning branch will receive a grand prize that will be donated to an environmental charity.
The NewYork Times brought attention to a huge opportunity to save paper in New York senate sessions. In an article titled, “Albany, Long Buried in Paper, Resolves to Save a Small Forest,” The Times reports that the New York state capitol goes through 19 million pages every two years. This flagrant waste of paper could be avoided by a constitutional amendment that legislators will put before voters in the statewide ballot next year. According to the article, “Overall, legislative officials estimate that they spend $325,000 on paper and ink for the printing of bills during each two-year legislative term. In the last fiscal year alone, the state government complex in Albany sent 1,677 tons of mixed paper to be recycled.”
We’ve seen a steady decline in newspapers and other print publications over the past 10 years. While many have blamed the digital world for the closings of beloved publications, it leaves us wondering—how will print continue to adapt or change to meet the demands of an increasingly digital world? Or, will we just simply continue to see the print media universe shrink?
Earlier this week, it was announced that Newsweek was being sold to all-digital publisher IBT Media. The magazine had ended its weekly print edition in December 2012. Etienne Uzac, co-founder and CEO of IBT Media, stated that readers can expect the Newsweek brand to be “fully transformed to the digital age” as a result of the sale.
Then, in a surprise announcement Monday, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post. USA Today has touted Bezos’ “mastery of both digital and bricks-and-mortar delivery,” which could greatly benefit the Post. In a letter to the staff, Bezos reportedly stated, “We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment.”
In the world of news publications, Newsweek, The Washington Post and other print outlets face increasing challenges as online outlets more quickly evolve. News in the digital world is more often instant and free through online, mobile and social channels, causing a steady decline in revenue. Social sharing on sites like Twitter, Pinterest, blogs and Facebook – which this week announced the goal of creating a “customized newspaper” in users’ news feeds – provide content like recipes, cooking and fashion tips free online. But there are several commentaries making the case that print will continue to survive through the decline with evolutions of print taking shape.
The continued merits of print include:
Loyalty. Circulation for magazines and brochures extends beyond the cursory glances over websites. And while someone far out of your state may easily view your news online, print media more easily connects with readers in your immediate area and can remain in their possession at length. Advertising, too, goes a long way for local businesses that may reach more customers interested in supporting their local businesses.
Credibility and relevance. Print publications, especially newspapers, provide a consistent presence that people have come to rely on as a credible and in-the-know source. While almost anyone can blog or report online, the speed at which fake news or inaccurate information travels has allowed traditional journalism to retain more credibility with readers. For many readers, news outlets with a traditionally print presence have reputations for journalistic ethics, sorting through social media clutter and more accurately reporting on the facts.
Tradition. Sitting down with the morning paper becomes a comforting routine for many people on the weekends. It’s a tactile, emotional experience that many feel just doesn’t translate to scanning their local news online. And while online publications make it easier to search for the content you may be looking for, many people report a great deal of satisfaction from the sense of discovery, or uncovering appealing new content and stories that they otherwise may not have seen through their own targeted searches.
Incorporating digital functionality. Print isn’t simply standing by and letting digital mediums replace it. The most successful print publications are adapting to incorporate digital functionalities that help them to remain relevant. Some are simply publishing less frequently and moving breaking news online. Others are constantly innovating and exploring the digital landscape to find the interactive tools that can even enhance their print readers’ experiences, such as providing an online portal featuring more in-depth information or videos to accompany something that appeared originally in print.
New media doesn’t have to mean the death of old media. So, whether you’re enjoying the tactile experience of a magazine during the “no electronics” part of your flight or experiencing new interactive features in an online article—remember each has its merits. Print will continue to adapt as the market changes, and we look forward to seeing how Newsweek and The Washington Post evolve their purpose under new leadership.
How do you prefer to read your news or view your favorite content? We’d like your thoughts on the merits of print and digital media. Feel free to share in the comments below.
Each Friday, we round up the best paper and sustainability tweets. Enjoy!
The Reading Brain in The Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens bit.ly/11YSnLy
— Scientific American (@sciam) April 11, 2013
“I believe what’s on the paper, not on the screen.” —Susan Howe tpr.ly/12TQkv5
— The Paris Review (@parisreview) April 11, 2013
Turn a piece of paper into an iPhone stand with this easy, practical origami project. ow.ly/jWPTZ
— Snapguide (@Snapguide) April 11, 2013
on keeping a notebook (paper!)in the digital age bit.ly/152J2Rd
— Michael Nobbs (@michaelnobbs) April 11, 2013
— ShareMyLesson (@sharemylesson) April 11, 2013
— GOOD(@GOOD) April 9, 2013
— PlanetGreen.com (@PlanetGreen) April 4, 2013
Hi, there – It’s Milton Pant, VP of the office green team, reporting for duty! It’s been a while since we last discussed tactics to thwart the office printing offenders. While a lot of the tactics we previously used have helped these folks curb the paper wasting, there are additional things we could be doing to help with overall office sustainability. And wouldn’t you know it? I have come up with a new weapon for our sustainability arsenal.
I call it “the draft printer for the daft printer!” What is it? Well, besides brilliant, it’s a great option for your office to reuse not only your office paper supply, but also derelict printing technology that may be gathering some dust. By converting a printer to “draft printer” status, it can keep discarded paper and an idled printer from out of a landfill.
Here’s how it works:
- Find a printer that’s old or being phased out and designate it as the “draft printer” in an announcement to coworkers. It should be used for the printing of emails, draft documents or other preliminary works that don’t require professional, finished appeal. And remember; be sure to encourage your coworkers to recycle the reused paper once they have finished with it!
- Load the printer with paper that has previously been printed on and discarded, so that the draft printer can print on the unused, blank side of the paper.
- Set a box near the recycling bin for coworkers to deposit paper in for loading the draft printer. This box should advise to deposit only paper that is still blank on one side.
- Watch the printing use begin! As the paper gets low on reusable paper, restock it from the designated reusable paper box.
Pretty simple, right? It may take a while for all of the printing personalities in your office to get used to it, but we’ve found that even the Distracted Diva and the Waster can get on board with this new system.
Your coworkers will begin to see the sustainable lifecycle of a piece of paper as they use it from new sheet, to reused draft printout, and lastly, it’s chance for renewal in the recycling bin.
What are some sustainability initiatives that you’ve tried in your own office? Were they successful? We’d love to hear about it. And, if you decide to try the “draft printer” tactic, let us know how it goes!
Milton Pant, Vice President of the Office Green Team
1. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is no longer a nice-to-have for major brands and companies
Corporate social responsibly is still a relatively nascent term, but its importance to brand image has never been greater. Read more…